Sept 4, 2012
Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign.
Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained greater than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent. New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7.
“Unemployment is stubbornly stuck,” making it difficult to significantly reduce the number of food-stamp recipients, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview last month. “While people are going back to work, and there are jobs being added, they aren’t being added at a clip that is as robust as anybody wants.”
Food-stamp spending, which has more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the USDA’s biggest annual expense. Republicans in Congress have criticized the cost of the program, and the House budget plan approved in April sponsored by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s vice-presidential nominee, would cut expenses by $33 billion over 10 years.